Growth in specialty services at he 2011 Top 100 Firms re- mained relatively consistent with last year, with most top
client niches either treading water or seeing small changes in the percentage of
firms reporting growth in those areas. According to the 80 reporting firms, however,
a few niche specialties made some dramatic movements.
Nonprofits registered the biggest leap
— from last year’s ninth spot to land in second place with 70 percent of firms recording an increase in that specialty. Business
valuations, meanwhile, remained in the
top niche-services spot, with 75 percent of
firms reporting an increase. Suffering a big
drop this year were business recovery/re-cession services, down six spots at No. 23.
Brent McDade, managing partner of
advisory services for Joseph Decosimo and
Co. in Chattanooga, Tenn., saw business val-
uations at the firm grow rapidly in the past
year because of demand for fair value servic-
es. “It was a realization on the part of audi-
tors and their clients that independent opin-
ions of fair value are becoming a more rou-
tine part of an audit engagement,” he said.
“In the past year, [this niche] grew in spite of
us, instead of because of us, but in the com-
ing year we plan to dedicate more resources
to growing this area of business.”
Joe Evans, a principal at Boardman,
Ohio-based Hill, Barth & King and director
of its business valuation practice, cited
three reasons for growth: “First, the im-
provement in clients’ discretionary spend-
ing. Valuation work tends to be an extra
type of transaction, so in a difficult econ-
omy, discretionary spending goes down.
We expect to see improvement there.”
Evans also echoed McDade’s expecta-
tion of more fair value work in financial
reporting as another catalyst. And lastly, he
sees opportunities for valuation in the Mar-
cellus Shale, an area of deep, untapped nat-
ural gas reserves on the East Coast.